Hong Kong-trained Dominant was rated a 100-1 chance by some bookmakers in the lead-up to the Hong Kong Vase (2400m) but was able to upstage the fancied European chances to win the Group 1 event at Sha Tin yesterday.
All the attention in the lead-up to the Hong Kong Vase centered around classy filly The Fugue taking on Melbourne Cup placegetters Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos but Dominant was able to turn around his form to record his maiden Group 1 victory.
Australian jockey Zac Purton had Dominant positioned in the middle of the field and, after accessing the slow tempo of the race, was the first jockey to make his move; pinching a race winning break with 300 metres left to run.
The Fugue, Dunaden and Red Cadeaux all made ground late but Dominant was able to hold on in the final stages of the race to become the first locally-trained horse to win the Hong Kong Vase since Doctor Dino in 2008 and give trainer John Moore his first ever win in the race.
Purton was confident that he would record a Group 1 victory at Sha Tin yesterday but admitted after the race that he did not expect to score his maiden victory in the Hong Kong Vase.
“It was probably the one I didn’t really expect but we’ll take any of them,” Purton said after the race.
“It worked out well for me because it was a nice even tempo for him and that’s what he appreciated.
“When they steadied up down by the 1200m and they all started to bunch up I could see a couple of the favoured runners just going to be held up in a little bit of trouble, so I was able to move into the race with nice galloping room around the outside.
“I thought they’re getting boxed up so I might as well try and get a break on them and see how we go and luckily enough I had enough in the tank.”
Moore, like Purton, was surprised and delighted by the victory and revealed that the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2400m) would likely be the next race start for the son of Cacique.
“It’s a big surprise, I can tell you,” Moore said.
“There isn’t anything here for him so the obvious race to look at is the Sheema Classic in Dubai.”
While he was unable to finish in the placings, arguably the run of the race was Red Cadeaux who worked home strongly to finish fourth despite being trapped four or five wide for the majority of the 2400 metre event.
Trainer Ed Dunlop admitted that he was disappointed by jockey Gerald Mosse’s ride on Red Cadeaux but said that the veteran stayer will continue to race next year; with the Group 1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Australia both on the agenda for the Cadeaux Genereux gelding.
”We knew he might find it hard to get in from his wide barrier but watching him stuck out where he was all the way was hard to take,” Dunlop said.
”At this stage, we plan to press on with him, and we are looking at Dubai and the Sydney races in the autumn for him.”
2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden was able to work home strongly on the inside of the track but trainer Mikel Dezangles admitted that jockey Jamie Spencer had set the Nicobar entire too tough a task from the back of the field.
“Once again he gave everything but we were too far back and it was too much for him to do it from there,” Dezangles said.
“I just wish we could have stayed on for second.”
Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter Simenon produced another strong effort to finish fifth, while Mount Athos finished a disappointing ninth; with jockey Craig Williams indicating that the Montjeu gelding may have been a bit fresh.